Common Core bill delayed indefinitely

Published 12:01 am Thursday, March 14, 2013

Local school superintendents are thrilled with the news that the Senate Education Committee Wednesday delayed consideration indefinitely of a bill that would repeal Alabama’s common core curriculum standards.

“I am relieved and excited,” said Opp superintendent Michael Smithart. “Relieved in that we now have a clear direction for our students. Excited because this transition will allow our students to demonstrate their capacity to excel, whatever the standards and expectations.

“Alabama’s College and Career Ready Standards are a shift in the right direction, and I am grateful that legislators have elected to allow our state superintendent and our state board to lead the charge,” he said.

Previously, Terry Holley, county school superintendent, and Ted Watson, Andalusia City Schools superintendent, expressed their approval of the standards.

The bill died on a motion from its sponsor, Sen. Dick. Brewbaker, R-Pike Road, who would not accept a weakened substitute version proposed by Sen. Bill Holtzclaw, R-Madison.

The committee declined Brewbaker’s bill that would have repealed the common core standards, despite an amendment from Brewbaker that loosened data sharing restrictions and eliminated language requiring legislative approval for all future state standards adopted by the state board of education.

Holtzclaw’s replacement bill did not repeal the common core standards, but said the state may not cede control over its standards to any outside entity.

However, a vote to repeal Alabama’s College and Career Ready standards can still be brought up at any time.

Republicans fighting against the standards were outraged at the decision.

“Conservatives feel betrayed by Republicans,” said Elois Zeanah, president of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women. “Alabama has no say in common core.”

Developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School officers, the standards are designed to improve academic achievement in math and English language through more rigorous set of standards that is university across the states.

The standards tell teachers what students should learn at each grade level, but not how to teach it or what material to use.

To date, 45 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the standards.